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AKG C 414 B-ULS
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AKG C 414 B-ULS

Large diaphragm condenser microphone from AKG belonging to the C414 series.

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Obsolete Audio Obsolete Audio
Published on 10/29/08 at 07:01
- What kind of mic is it? (for vocals, instruments, both...)
- What technology does it use? (electret, condenser...)
Large-diaphragms condenser mic with several polar patterns (Omni, Cardioid, Hyper and Figure-8.
-10 and -20 dB pads, as well as 75hz and 150hz low cut
12dBA of self-noise, 126dB of dynamic range
Maximum SPL before distortion: 140dB SPL (160dB SPL with -20dB pad)
Flat frequency response curve, best adapted for the recording of instruments.

OVERALL OPINION

- How long have you been using it?
I've been using it for one year.

- Which features do you like the most / the least?
I love its versatility, serious character, dynamics, extended response, response to transients, fidelity, density, cleanness, and sensitivity.
It allows for all sorts of stereo techniques (MS, Blumlein AB, ORTF, XY……)

I "don't like" its fidelity, density, cleanness, sensitivity, which make it very delicate to use in some situations.

The first time I used it, I was very disappointed with the result. It's not a mic you can place just like that. You need to be careful, it demands you to pay attention to the environment where you are (background noise, etc.). The richness of this mic in the low frequencies can sometimes mask the rest of the frequency spectrum and make a recording seem heavier (especially when close-miking a snare, or bass guitar). I often find myself having to give this mic more air than others mics, in order to get the best out of it.
Excellent as overhead mic, too. Used with the Recorderman technique, you will only need two mics to record drums convincingly.

It wouldn't be my first choice to close mike a distorted guitar. I find it too "dull" for such applications where I prefer mics with more character, depending on the music style and the color I want for the recording. Could it be that I have never used it on the right guitar style?
On the other hand, it's excellent as ambient mic for electric guitars, regardless of whether they are clean or distorted. The sound does not lie.

It is really good on acoustic instruments. For the time being, I have been able to record clarinet, toms, acoustic guitar, small wooden percussions, etc… I think this mic loves wood. I have always been pleased with the results.

The ULS is not the best for vocals, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.
It is all right for thin vocals or to give some weight to a vocal line.

I rarely use it for vocal sessions, for speed reasons, mainly because in a home studio environment where you must record 5 to 8 songs in two days (at least in my case), I prefer to use a Chinese mic, which is more effective (at first sight, because when you take a closer look, the superiority of this mic is obvious) and sits better in the mix, besides being closer to what the musicians want.

- Did you try any other models before buying it?
Before this mic I had also used SM58, SM57, PG81, Pro37, M201, D112, SE2200a, MK012, M88…
I hadn't tried any large-diaphragm condenser mics, except for the SE2200a, which is clearer, sometimes too clear, and has less body.
I went for the 414 due to its reputation and chose the ULS for its "flat" response curve, unlike the TLII which has a slight boost in the high mids/highs.

- How would you rate its value for money?
Very good if you consider that I got myself two secondhand models numbered 185000 in perfect shape, without a single scratch, no grease, no dirt, and all for the "small" amount of $1300, including accessories.

Without a case, suspension nor windscreen, with wear and tear signs and many miles on it, I wouldn't pay more than $400 for each.

- Based on your experience, would you choose this product again?
I had one and bought another one, so yes, I already did.
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